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Seventh Circuit's proposed Rehaif instruction applies mens rea to other paragraphs of § 922(g)

The Seventh Circuit has posted a proposed revision to its § 922(g) instructions that extends the Supreme Court's holding in Rehaif v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2191 (2019), to the other paragraphs of § 922(g).

The Court in Rehaif held that, in prosecutions under § 922(g)(5) (firearms possession by aliens unlawfully in the United States), the government "must show that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm and also that he knew he had the relevant status when he possessed it." Rehaif, id. at 2194. The proposed instruction extends that mens rea to every prohibited status, including the much more common § 922(g)(1) (felon-in-possession).

This position is not controversial. It is, by my count, the third circuit to do this. See Pattern Crim. Jury Instr. 6th Cir. 12.01 (2019) (felon-in-possession); Model Crim. Jury Instr. 9th Cir. 8.62-65A (2019) (unlawful delivery/receipt/shipment/possession).

(12/15/19) (permalink)

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